• Roberto Ligrone

Started on a barren planet with no ocean and a thin unbreathable atmosphere, our long journey terminated on a life-teeming planet with an oxygen-rich atmosphere, an ocean covering over two thirds of its surface and large chunks of continental crust hosting a diversity of terrestrial ecosystems and a particularly invasive primate species.

Let us look back and make a take-home overview of the story.

According to the alkaline vent hypothesis, life was a product of chemical disequilibrium between the mantle and the surface of the Earth, built by tectonic activity and ultimately arising from gravitational separation of an iron/nickel core. The elementary unit of life is the cell, a self-reproducing chemical system that exists in a condition far removed from thermodynamic equilibrium by increasing entropy in the environment. The first cells possibly originated as early as 4 GYA from organic-mineral complexes in submarine geothermal vents; the participation of transition metals such as iron,...

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roberto Ligrone
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environmental, Biological and Pharmaceutical Sciences and TechnologiesUniversity of Campania “Luigi Vanvitelli”CasertaItaly

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